Aussi, Aussie, Aussie! A bit pricey, and how many *&#!@ commercials are they gonna show?!?!

The Wandering Nerd May 19th, 2008

I’m in Australia! Sydney, to be precise. I got in on Wednesday and have been having a great time getting caught back up with some friends I’d made in Venice: Liam, Anja, and Chad - who susequently went on to travel with me through most of Italy and Greece. I’ve met tons of people on this whole ‘let’s travel aimlessly!’ thing, the vast majority I assume I will never, ever meet again. But there have been a select few that I seemed to develop a kinship with beyond the usual single serving friendship. It was strange, Liam, Anja and I were only hanging out in Venice together but we all became firm friends just in that short time. Good kids that I have really been looking forward to catching up with. They’ve been most kind in ferrying me around, showing me the sites, providing crash space and buying more for me than I would have liked. Stupid stupid Australian hospitality….

I can’t describe to you the joy and peace that filled me as I walked out of the Sydney airport to not be greated by hundereds of touts and taxi drivers. Don’t get me wrong, I loved southeast Asia. Going back through sometime in the future is definately in the cards, especiallly to Thailand. The madness and cacophany of the place had just finally worn down my last little bit of nerves. I spent five months over there…wow…I hadn’t really thought about that until I just wrote it. That’s a long bloody damn time of “TUK-TUK!” “TAXI!” “You want marra-whana?!” “First sale of the day! Good price!” “Boom boom?” - all of which translates to the very simple ‘give me your money.’ You’re not so much of a tourist as you are a money belt with legs. It adds up and soon you want to strangle everyone that says ‘Hello’ because you’ve become so jaded that they are just talking to you for a sale. Enter Sydney and be free the shackles of misused touristika capitalisma!

Being picked up at the airport by friends made me feel like a rockstar, well a rockstar riding shotgun in a little Mazda, but I’ll take it. For the first time I didn’t have to worry about figuring out the city, finding a hostel - or the nearest bar. It was magical. Hell having the street signs in English was a bit of a rush. Though the names of places are only loosely English. I mean c’mon, ‘Woolloomoolo,’ ‘Waggawagga,’ ‘Tittybong,’ ‘Tittybong’!?! Actually I kinda’ like that one. In some cases it’s like they got all of the extra vowels the eastern European countries misplaced and felt that something must be done with them.

Australia, Aussie, or ‘Oz’ for those that want to be hip, is great. People are friendly beyond all rational concept of the term. I was walking around the city and a girl asked if I could help push start her car, as I was pushing along, three other guys joined the effort. Upon starting a round of ‘Good on ya’ Mate! and ‘G’day!’ was said and we all dispersed. Yeah they really do say ‘G’day’ and ‘No worries!’ all the damn time. It’s clean and beautiful. I also need to point out that per capita I think Oz has the largest number of gorgeous girls of any country in the world. I don’t think you could swing a dead cat on any street in Sydney and not have it hit a hot girl/woman/chica. More than likely the longer you do it the better the chances go, as they’ll start coming up asking to have a go at swinging the thing and tell you a dirty joke while they’re doing it.

Anja and I walked down around the quay and the opera house. This has been mentioned before, but periodically there are moments when traveling when you realize exactly how far out of your…context…you really are. Walking up to the Sydney Opera House I had one of those moments of existentialist wonder. Who’d have thunk it, lil ‘ol me, all the way on the other side of the world. Later that night we partied it up at Liam’s bar - having a friend who is a bartender is both good and bad mind you. Chad showed up and we spent a lot of time getting caught on the adventures and misadventures that we’d all gotten into over the last 6 months, as well as going back over all the laughs and gaffs of the times we were together. ‘Twas a good night all around.

Today Anja, myself and Liam all took a big driving tour of the north of Sydney checking out some smaller bays and beaches. This whole place - once you’re out of the downtown district of the opera theater and skyscrapers - reminds me so much of small town America it’s unreal. Well, like 1960-1970 small town America. Before Wal-mart and Home Depot moved in and destroyed the very idea of small shops. These are ‘main street’ communities, with a row of shops, eateries, and services surrounded by housing. Which, according to the many, many hours I spent playing Sim City is a woefully inefficient method of constructing a city, but it seems to work. All of these little communities moved happily along and grew into what is now Sydney, and they all cheerfully moved into the 21st century without losing the charm and hospitality that comes with a small town.

So far, I’m unabashedly saying that I am well and truly enjoying this country….

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One Response to “Aussi, Aussie, Aussie! A bit pricey, and how many *&#!@ commercials are they gonna show?!?!”

  1. shanagalleryon 21 May 2008 at 4:05 pm

    Just a quick note to let you know I’m “allegedly” in an art show in Australia (if the materials get to me and then back again in time).

    First, at Yarra Sculpture Gallery, Abbotsford, Melbourne Australia. 16th June – 6th July.

    Secondly, at The Ballarat Mining Exchange, Ballarat Australia 2nd – 10th August , in conjunction with the “Ship of Fools” exhibition.

    Do you think you’ll still be around then?

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